It might not be Nelson Oliveira or Sone Aluko, but one of this summer’s transfer rumours has finally come true with Leandro Bacuna confirmed as a Reading player today.
The 25-year-old moves from Aston Villa, who the Royals face on Tuesday, where he played a total of 128 games in four years, scoring eight goals. This includes 85 appearances in the Premier League and 30 Championship matches last season.
Born in the Netherlands, Bacuna represented the Oranje 20 times at youth level, before opting to represent Caribbean island Curacao at senior level in 2016. He has since earned 13 international caps and netted four goals. At club level, the utility man began his career at hometown club Groningen in 2009, and was a regular in the Eredivisie before moving to Villa Park four years later.
In terms of the fee, the Birmingham Mail reported two weeks ago that Aston Villa had rejected a £1.5 million bid for Bacuna, before Reading met their valuation in the last few days. The Sunday People claim that the Royals will pay £2.5 million up front with a further £500,000 in add-ons. Either way, the player was contracted until 2020 in the Midlands, meaning the transfer won’t have been that cheap. He has signed a four year deal at the Madejski Stadium.
Perhaps one of the key reasons that Jaap Stam has decided to bring Bacuna to Berkshire is his versatility - during his time with Villa he was deployed at right-back, left-back and in various midfield roles, including out wide and as a number 10. It is likely that he will be tasked with filling the Danny Williams-shaped hope at the Madejski Stadium, attempting to be the box to box midfielder that the Royals have been crying out for.
On the deal, Stam told the official club website:
“Leandro is a player that we have been following for a while – he has played Premier League football and brings quality to us. He is the type of player who can play in several positions in the team – in midfield, at the back, or even sometimes as a winger. He is a player with the right mentality and who wants to go forward; these are the types of players that we want to have.”